Public administration services are about to undergo a major transformation. Filling in forms by hand and standing in long queues to get the appropriate rubber stamp on a document may soon be a thing of the past. The Ministry of Information Technology has just launched what it calls a Public Administration Portal which is to change the face of bureaucracy and smooth the way in dealing with red tape.
The country where bureaucracy reigned supreme for many decades is about to enter the third millennium with a bang. Within a few months much of the tedious but inevitable paperwork will be done over the Internet via a newly established Public Administration Portal and electronic signature. Hours spent on the phone trying to get information will be replaced by a few clicks of the mouse in the PAP. Czech laws, European Union laws and public services are now accessible on line. The portal was put into trial operation this week and Information and Technology Minister Vladimir Mlynar asked the public for feedback.
"We asked some six and a half thousand mayors and close to a thousand senior public administration officials to verify the facts pertaining to their locality. There were over 2,000 corrections and updates. But a system of this kind can only be perfected by use and through feedback. So we have made it possible for individuals who find inaccurate or wrong information about their locality to lets us know via the system and it will be remedied without delay in cooperation with the local authorities."
The second phase of the PAP operation is scheduled to begin at the end of 2003 by which time people will be able to use the system's "transactional services" and there will be a complete English language version for foreigners and tourists. In addition to information about the Czech Republic it will include information about how to obtain a visa, information about work permits, job contracts, permanent residence permits and such. A section will be devoted to emergencies such as what to do in the even of illness, accidents, theft and so on. In order to access the PAP please go to: http://portal.gov.cz/
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